What To Do After Your Spring Bulbs Have Flowered
The blooms of the daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, alliums and other spring bulbs that looked so incredible for a few wonderful weeks have faded and passed, leaving only floppy green leaves and flower stems. So, what to do with them now? The answer to this question depends on what type of bulb was planted and whether they are intended to be considered annuals or perennials.
Most bulbs are considered perennials and can be expected to grow and bloom for many years. Some gardeners, and many professional landscapers, use spring bulbs as annuals much the way begonias, petunias and geraniums are used. After blooming, they are removed to make room for the next rotation of blooming plants.
If, however, the intention is to use the spring bulbs as perennials, a little aftercare is necessary to ensure they bloom well again.
Once the flowers have faded, cut the flowers stems off leaving the foliage intact. This is important because, if the flower head is left in place, the plant will do what it is supposed to do and attempt to form seeds. This robs the bulb of energy and nutrients.
The foliage, although it will make for a less attractive garden, should be left until it turns brown and dies. During this time, the plant will produce energy through photosynthesis and put it back into the bulb for next year. After the foliage has died, it may be cut back and composted.
In order to help bulbs last for more than one season, most require some additional fertilizer. Use a fertilizer heavy in phosphorus to promote good root development. Phosphorus does not move well through soil, and most bulbs are planted several inches deep, so rake it into the soil as much as possible without disturbing the bulbs themselves or roots of other plants. Bone meal and superphosphate make excellent fertilizer choices for spring bulbs.
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